Monday, March 27, 2023

VA Senate Passes Anti-Discrimination Bills, Sends To House For Fourth Time

ICYDK, the Virginia Senate last week passed two pieces of legislation that would ban discrimination in housing and public employment on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.Both of the bills passed with bipartisan support. 

Senate Bill 1109 would protect LGBT Virginians from discrimination in housing and passed 33-7. Senate Bill 998 would protect LGBT Virginians from discrimination in public employment. It passed on a 28-12 vote.

State Sens. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria) and Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond) introduced SB 998 and SB 1109. 

2019 marks the fourth time both of these bills have made it out of the state Senate with bipartisan support only to die in the Virginia House of Delegates.

Today, those bills–among many others dealing with discrimination–are winding their way through the House.

The general tenor of the House is somewhat more favorable for the passage of these bills. Some Republicans have come to see the issue as a matter of personal liberty — and perhaps political survival in an election year when the GOP is struggling to appeal to voters in once-friendly suburbs.

Even so, LGBT rights remain a tough sell in Richmond.

A bill to repeal the state’s already defunct ban on same-sex marriage failed in a tied committee vote on the opening day of the General Assembly last week. On Monday, legislation to expand the state’s hate-crime law to include gay and transgender people died in a Senate committee. The House also voted down the Equal Rights Amendment last week.

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